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Have you ever hit someone?

Just ran into them as hard as you could, decked them with all your strength, focused all your anger and your aggression and your pent-up rage and directed it at their person, like you were Luke Skywalker on the Death Star?

God, what a feeling.

I read something here where someone was advocating Dungeons and Dragons or other roleplay as a way to channel the same aggression that real violence dispels, and that it also sharpens your mind against the consumerist vibe. And you've bought how many D&D books? Do you paint your figurine collection on Sunday nights? Gotcha, you're as materialistic as the guy who hopes that the size of his car's engine will compensate for the insignificance of his penis. Don't worry: I am too. But that is a side point. This node is about how violence vents aggression.

I play football, and I also roleplay. I run a FUDGE-based campaign as well as play D&D. It just isn't the same thing; your character could be a level 16 Barbarian, and you could kick ass all over the monsters your DM puts in front of you, but the real world still remains separate from what you see on your character sheet. Its when you can't figure out which world is real and which one you stomp around in with a torch and a broadsword that the evilness starts to happen.

Real, down-home, gritty violence is a mind-opener. Sometimes after you run into someone as hard as you can, you wind up with a headache, but by gum, you're awake. I can channel all the hate and desire for revenge at whatever humiliation I have recieved into a driving motivation to kick that guy's ass. On the football field, or in the tight circle of people feeding on your own primal instinct, its just you and the other human. Aggression vs. aggression; if you didn't want to hit someone, you wouldn't be there.

So why does the loser not care in a "friendly" fight?

You attack; you are on the offensive. Your opponent is doing his best to make you shit your pants. You survive. Adrenaline is rushing. This transcends the poorly hidden dominance/submission trip that forms so much of modern culture and reaches the level of pure, unadulterated aggression, nothing but. You are alive and you are fighting and most importantly, this is real. Your own potency is made clear. If you are a victor or if the match is close to a draw, you have seen that you have power. Regardless of your position in life, you can still maim and destroy. What insecurity, real or percieved, can stand up to the simple fact that you have it in your power to beat the crap out of another human being? If you are a loser, you are not dead. You have survived what was probably one of the most painful experiences of your life. Joseph Campbell talks about the "Abyss" in his Hero with a Thousand Faces, the place where a hero enters into a great unknown and emerges changed forever - perhaps bearing deep scars from their experience. He then goes on to link this event to mythology from all over the globe, and ultimately into the subconscious of every human being. That fight becomes your abyss; you have faced it, you have mastered fear. You know your strengths and can accept your weaknesses. Again, what insecurity can withstand the knowledge that no matter what others may say, their talk is cheap, and you can withstand any pain they can inflict?

Violence is a true test. The stakes are real; you can not tear up your character sheet and roll new stats. You must bear the marks of your conflict to school, to work. Yeah, I got in a fight. I boxed a kid before football practice my sophomore year, and I sported a shiner and a split lip for weeks afterward. I sneer on those who sneer at me. I fought and I survived - what are you going to do? You can't faze me. I enjoy hitting. I release myself and afterward I don't care whether I won or lost: All that matters is that I fought.

Violence, in the proper context, is good.

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